Polyester Embassy is Elang, Eky. Utink, Tomo & Givarie. They are a rock band from Bandung, Indonesia.
POLYESTER EMBASSY: "Making music is like a therapy that i need to stay happy. We're still a teenager in that sense."
[interview.aldy / pics.refly / Mar 2018]
Where is your place in music?
EKKY: Inbetween.. Between everything..
ELANG: We're here to celebrate music.
TOMO: We are the the first band to use electronic passages and implement them in a rock band format. At least that was and still the aim. Tragicomedy is the landmark of experiment electronica rock format for us. Followed with Fake/Faker, an ambitious use of organic rock passages in electronica blend. Our last effort with Since Tomorrow is the best of both worlds.
You guys have been making music together for more than 10 years. What’s the differences between the early days of Polyester Embassy and now that you guys are a bit older?
ELANG: 10 years ago we're young and now we're younger. I mean, we play music at this age with a sense that we're still a teenager so we're younger now and yeah, we're still a teenager in that sense.
EKKY: More wise ass.
TOMO: Spare time and distance. That is the main challenges. 4 out of 5 members have small families and 2 of 5 have their own business outside of music and outside of our hometown in Bandung. To put all of our heads in a rehearsal room is a bit tricky now.
Do you think you are brave enough with your music? Because you guys keep experimenting and reinventing yourself..
ELANG: Somehow i don't know where or why it came out. I get curious all the time and its so fun. Also, i still love the idea of jamming and doing something new at the same time so it’s just a normal process and not experimental, so making music is more like therapy that i need to stay happy.
TOMO: Absolutely. We try to blurring the definition of typical rock song or electronic song in our works. Reinventing is the way to keep ourselves sane and not trapped in repetition. We love repetetion but not all the way.
EKKY: I just wanna make some sound that i think it's fit to the song in my perspective, and most of all i enjoy the process.
People talked about the “come back” of Polyester Embassy, what do you guys think?
EKKY: I call it "SHOWING UP”, not a comeback.
ELANG: We don't know where we’re going and we don't know where we've been. Comeback from what? We're just here doing our stuff and fucking up.
TOMO: Come back is a bit overwhelming. Since the band never address the intention of hiatus or quitting formally. We’ve been around under the radar and pretty much alive circa 2014 until 2016. Perfecting the live craft with the addition of guitar wizard Utink is a must, and also getting the Since Tomorrow EP fixed and released. Hence it is not a come back, but a new release.
You did lots of collaboration in your latest showcase,”Tomorrow’s Comedy” with : Dina Homogenic, Gebeg Taring, Dika Collapse, and others.. Why did you choose them as collaborators?
ELANG: They're special cause they're our friends, they’re good musician and yes i love their music and appereance, showmanship-wise!! They’re bloody good in their own way.
TOMO: Most of our collaborators are the best example of musician who push the envelope of side-stream music with their own respective band or group. We are fans of their works and it would be our honor to have them sing or play our song with us at Tomorrow's Tragedy showcase. And it was a blast.
EKKY: Collapse because his music is very fresh in our scene. Dina collaborate in our first album in a song called "Home", and Gebeg is one of the many people that’s always supporting us from the start.
Your Since Tomorrow E.P. has been released in multiple formats such as cassette tapes and vinyls. Do you think those formats are making a huge comeback for the music collectors in Indonesia?
ELANG: Yes! Life's too convenient when you hear things digitally. You always need something physical to interact and i think it happened globally.
EKKY: I hope so.
TOMO: Music collectors in Indonesia, to be frank, will never be the same as in the glory days. But they are still around and they are real fanatics. Huge comeback will be a huge question for all of us. But having our releases on those 2 formats was an artistic decision and thank god we sold them out. In this digital age, a physical release is still considered significant and will stay alive.
Why did you choose those unique formats for the release of your E.P.?
TOMO: Unique formats for unique materials. Why not?
EKKY: Because it’s a unique format in a whole package.
ELANG: I just love it. I buy cassette regularly since junior high as long the cassette factory existed. Why not? And for the vinyl it's a bonus. It's an achievement as a musician to release stuff on that format. Man, it’s the best music format, you have to admit it! And with overseas record label providing it now it’s easier to produce it.
Your Tomorrow’s Comedy 2 hours set at Spasial is pretty conceptual live performance. How long did you guys plan it?
EKKY: About a month i guess?
TOMO: Elang will answer this one. He manage to think about all the initial plan with Maternal, Motion Beast, Altecs Sound, The Throne Room and Spasial.
ELANG: Well thanks! We take conceptual as a compliment since we do this only 3 weeks of preparation and a lot of improvement all the way. So once again i still love the idea of jamming and doing something new at the same time and see what happens. Suprise suprise! It’s beyond expectation and we've so lucky to be surrounded by brilliant people and friends. Some crew to mention: Spasial, Maternal disaster, The Throne Room, Motion Beast and Altec Sounds. You're the best!
You guys are notorious gear heads and musical instruments collectors. Why did you guys collect so many musical instruments?
ELANG: Yes i love musical instruments. I love vintage instrument and of course i don't use all that stuff on our music. Sometimes i just like the graphic packaging or design, or the story of the instrument. There's nothing wrong with it and the sounds of course it's like curious and curiouser. The more you dig, the more you know, the more money you spent on it, the less you have from your musical job. For me most of them is a synthesizer and i'm happy with it.
TOMO: Hahaha. Yes we are a bunch of gear heads. We love musical instruments, that is the reason. Almost every gear we have on stage will be used to produce the sounds.
EKKY: It's like a vampire you know? Always hungry for blood.. But now for me personally i try to minimize it, but maximizing the sound that i want.
Each of you, tell us some of your most beloved collection of musical instruments..
ELANG: Roland JUNO 60 came with the JSQ 60. It just came and showed up. It's a destiny thanks to all my beautiful friends.
TOMO: My beloved collection is the Yamaha BB300. I beat the shit out of that bass. Throw them out, beat the body to produce noise, bend the neck etc. I got it from my producer Adhit Android for about Rp.1.700.000,- and i never fancy an expensive bass because i keep beating it to the ground.
EKKY: My Fender Jazzmaster, cause she came from heaven..
Your current recommendation of local bands?
ELANG: Panda Selecta, Sins of Suns, Heals, Collapse, Wreck, Ssslothhh, Skandal, Secret Meadow, Peonies, Strange Fruit.
TOMO: Sins of Suns, Collapse, Heals, Taring, Ssslothhh.
EKKY: Panda Selecta.
Your most memorable concert-going experiences?
ELANG: The Cure, Singapore 2007, M83 Laneway 2012, Mew Java Rocking Land 2010, Kings of Convenience Dago tea house 2007.
TOMO: Laneway 2012, saw the mighty M83.
EKKY: Explosions in the Sky at Paradiso Amsterdam in 2007
Last questions: Tell us your side projects beside playing in Polyester Embassy? Thanks for doing the interview!
ELANG: Musical: A synth project with Dina Dellyana for Alphawaves. It's a recalled project. And we have recorded some strings ambient, pad and such with various friends and musician.. I don't know how long i have to do this.
Non-musical: Still doing the caps game with @capslock.ltd and no other thing beside my family and my kids. Thanks Bastards!
TOMO: Cannot tell. Code of Ethic hehe..
EKKY: I've got Rock N Roll Mafia & Diocreatura. Also a part time radio announcer.
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